The Department of Licensing (DOL) issues special vehicle license plates that may be used in lieu of standard plates. A governmental or nonprofit sponsoring organization seeking to sponsor a special plate either submits an application to DOL or requests legislation to create the special plate.
Under the DOL method, the application packet must include the design of the special license plate, proof of 3500 signatures in support of the special license plate, and a start-up fee of $6,300. For special license plates enacted by the Legislature, a sponsoring organization must submit prepayment of all start-up costs to DOL within 30 days of enactment.
The sponsoring organization seeking to sponsor the special plate is required to reimburse DOL for the costs of establishing the new special plate. If the sponsoring organization is not able to meet the prepayment requirement, revenues generated from the sale of the special license plate are first used to pay off any costs associated with establishing the new plate.
The sponsoring organization must also provide a proposed license plate design to DOL. The sponsoring organization must submit an annual financial report to DOL detailing actual revenues generated from the sale of the special license plate. The reports are reviewed, approved, and presented to the Joint Transportation Committee.
DOL collects special license plate fees, and for administrative expenses, deducts an amount not to exceed $12 for new plate issuance and $2 for renewal. After these expenses are paid, the state treasurer deposits the proceeds into the Motor Vehicle Account until DOL determines the start-up costs for a special license plate are paid. After that point, all remaining proceeds go to the sponsoring organization.
The Washington Wine special license plate is created. In addition to all fees and taxes required to be paid upon application for a vehicle registration, a fee of $40 is charged for the original issuance of a Washington Wine special license plate, and a $30 fee is charged for the renewal of the plate. Revenue from the sale of the plates will provide funds to the State of Washington Tourism to promote tourism throughout Washington.
PRO: The wine special license plate will be designed with a landscape of wine country and will recognize the importance of the Washington wine industry and related businesses. The proceeds will go to support tourism around the state. This proposed plate has over 4,000 signatures of support and there is demand for this plate. Oregon has an Oregon Wine license plate and it has been very successful there. It has been estimated that there are 41,000 wine related jobs and 5,000 of them are directly associated with tourism. The Washington wine industry has struggled with the pandemic and other economic factors. This will help address this through the enhanced tourism efforts across the state. This also has ancillary benefits to state and local government tax collections.